Renewable Diesel vs. Biodiesel: Understanding the Key Difference
In the quest for cleaner and more sustainable fuels, renewable diesel and biodiesel have emerged as viable alternatives to traditional petroleum-based diesel. While both fuels are derived from renewable resources, they differ significantly in their production process, chemical composition, and performance characteristics. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between renewable diesel vs. biodiesel and why renewable diesel is the better choice.
Renewable diesel is produced through a hydrotreating process that removes impurities and increases the fuel’s energy density. This process results in a fuel that is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel, making it compatible with existing diesel infrastructure and vehicles. On the other hand, biodiesel is produced through a transesterification process that involves reacting vegetable oils or animal fats with an alcohol to produce esters and glycerin. While the transesterification process is relatively simple, it produces a fuel that is chemically different from petroleum-based diesel and requires modifications to diesel engines and infrastructure.
Renewable diesel has a higher energy content and cetane number than biodiesel. The cetane number is a measure of a diesel fuel’s ignition quality, with higher numbers indicating faster and more complete combustion. Renewable diesel typically has a cetane number of 75 or higher, while biodiesel has a cetane number of 50-60. The higher cetane number of renewable diesel leads to better cold start performance, improved fuel economy, and lower emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide.
Renewable diesel has superior cold weather performance compared to biodiesel. Biodiesel has a higher cloud point and viscosity, which can cause gelling and filter plugging in cold temperatures. Renewable diesel, on the other hand, has a lower cloud point and viscosity, making it more suitable for use in cold climates. Additionally, renewable diesel has a longer shelf life and better storage stability than biodiesel, reducing the need for additives and fuel treatments.
Renewable diesel has a longer shelf life and better storage stability than biodiesel, making it a more practical fuel option. Biodiesel can break down over time, particularly if it contains water, leading to a degradation in fuel quality and engine performance. Renewable diesel, on the other hand, has excellent storage stability and can be stored for long periods without the need for additives or fuel treatments. This is due to its higher cetane number and lower oxygen content, which makes it less prone to oxidation and degradation. As a result, renewable diesel is an ideal fuel for use in emergency backup generators and other applications where long-term storage is necessary.
Why Renewable Diesel is the Better Choice
Renewable diesel has several advantages over biodiesel. First, it has a higher energy content and cetane number, resulting in improved performance and reduced emissions. Second, it has a lower cloud point and viscosity, making it more suitable for use in cold temperatures. Finally, it is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel, making it compatible with existing diesel infrastructure and vehicles.
Renewable diesel is also a more sustainable fuel than biodiesel. While both fuels are derived from renewable resources, the production of biodiesel often requires significant land use and water resources.
At New Rise Renewables, we are committed to providing our customers with high-quality renewable fuels that offer superior performance and sustainability. If you have any questions about renewable diesel or would like to learn more about our products, please contact us today. Our team of experts is always available to help you find the right fuel solution for your needs.